How we keep innovating by making data-driven decisions
A large part of ParkBee’s added value to the mobility industry comes from its tech — in particular our data technology. It’s safe to say data is the heart and soul of our company. That sounds nice, but what does it mean for our day-to-day business? Senior data scientist Euan Richard explains how our data empowers us to keep innovating. “In this scale-up, data is highly valued.”
You lead the data team, shaping product direction and building infrastructure foundations that support the growth of the company. How does data relate to growth?
“For a technical scale-up such as ParkBee, data is key to uncovering new insights. These insights are essential for the development of the company, because you can make substantiated decisions based on data. We can know that the products we decide to develop will have an impact, because we have carefully researched existing usage trends of our products, and compared them with other external data sources and user feedback. Data is a smart way of coming up with new solutions and products — and as a data team, we feel happy that we’re not just moving numbers around but really helping to guide decisions and build useful products.”
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What kind of products does ParkBee develop, based on data?
“For instance, we have implemented — from scratch — an entire cloud-based data infrastructure that continuously sucks in interesting data, processing it all. From public data to paid or governmental data. We use it to see trends in the mobility industry. As a result, we have recently launched our first dynamic pricing solution. It’s an example of autonomous artificial intelligence. It takes data into account when setting the price for one of our locations. Examples of data are past behaviour of this location and other similar garages, recent bookings, events that are happening in the nearby surroundings and so on. We can predict how many people will park here at a certain time and day.”
What does a product such as dynamic pricing mean for customers and clients?
“For our users, we can guarantee a parking spot for a fair price. For the location owner, this means they get the highest possible amount of revenue while still attracting as many users as they can. It is a two-fold solution based on our analyses of supply and demand. When it’s busy, we will charge a little bit more. When it is quiet, we significantly reduce the price. It’s entirely based on data, created by our data-technology team. It really is a smart feature.”
Can you tell more about the team?
“The data team is combined with our in-house tech team. We are very international. We are with 9 team members and we have 9 nationalities — everyone has a different background. It happened by coincidence though, since we are always looking for the best people for the job. This makes working together very interesting, because we all have different perspectives on data and technology. We work very closely together in maintaining models and data infrastructure, but also in implementing data in our products. And every Friday we have Innovation Day, where we focus on uncovering new insights and using tools we’ve never used before.”
Photo by Charles on Unsplash
Do you have an example of a result derived from a regular Friday?
“At one of our Innovation Days, we looked into our users and the type of cars they drive. While we keep our user data anonymous, even internally, we can see the overall distributions of car models, and whether our users drive diesel, petrol or electric vehicles. We noticed that our users are 5 times more likely to drive an EV-car than the users of other public and commercial garages. So, we decided to act on it. We are now gathering data of all locations where most EV-users tend to park and we will install more chargers here, to meet their needs upfront. Aside from that, we are now looking at geo-targeting in general. Where do most users want to park? Based on parking, traffic and real-estate data we can determine what areas are most likely to be in demand. We can shape our supply strategy on these outcomes.”
How is working at a scale-up different?
“Our scale-up really centralises data-analyses and bases its decisions on this. We don’t just talk about data, we really use it. Working at a scale-up also means that you have more control over the projects you take on. What you often see at larger businesses, is that your analyses don’t matter that much when it comes to business decisions. But when you work in a scale up, you notice that decisions actually have an influence, they are indeed very important for the development and maturity of the company. At ParkBee in particular, data-analysts are highly valued and their insights are relied upon by other teams. It makes perfect sense though, especially when it comes down to making business decisions. In my opinion, looking at data is always the smartest move.”